CUP: Roush Evaluating Personnel But Doesn't Expect Major Changes

While only two of his four teams made it to victory lane in 2010 and accounted for just four of the season’s 36 race wins, team co-owner Jack Roush says he doesn’t anticipate wholesale changes within the Roush Fenway Racing organization during the offseason.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be movement, but it’s unlikely there will be major changes involving all four of the organization’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams.

“We’re re-evaluating everybody’s job, from crew chiefs to engineers to tire changers for all four of our programs,” Roush said Tuesday while attending the Raybestos Rookie of the Year awards luncheon at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“We’ll certainly build on the strength we have had, but if we have a weakness or see an opportunity … again, promoting from within whenever possible and generally that is our trademark. We will be looking for ways to improve ourselves.”

Roush Fenway Racing fields Sprint Cup teams for four drivers – Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth and David Ragan. Biffle, Edwards and Kenseth qualified for NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup while Ragan finished 24th in points.

Winless in 2009, Edwards captured the season’s final two races at Phoenix and Homestead and finished fourth in the standings. He snapped a 70-race winless skid with the Phoenix win.

Kenseth finished fifth in points but has failed to return to victory lane since winning at Auto Club Speedway in February 2009. He’ll head to Daytona early next year looking to end his own 70-race slump.

His team was one of two for Roush Fenway that had notable personnel changes take place during the season. After starting the year with crew chief Drew Blickensderfer, Todd Parrott was named crew chief following the Daytona 500. In June, veteran Jimmy Fennig replaced Parrott.

Like Edwards, Biffle also won twice in 2010, at Pocono and Kansas, and finished sixth in the standings. He, too, had been winless in 2009.

Ragan, winless in 146 Cup starts, finished outside the top 20 in points for the second consecutive year after finishing 13th in 2008. His team also saw a change in crew chiefs during the year as Blickensderfer returned to the top of the pit box in September, replacing Donnie Wingo.

“The amazing thing about Carl for the year is that we only won two times,” Roush said.

More noteworthy, he said, was Edwards’ Phoenix victory.

“In spite of the fact that it’s a slip-and-slide kind of race track that Carl kind of revels in … for the earlier race [at Phoenix] and for the other mile and shorter race tracks, we hadn’t realized our potential,” Roush said.

“Certainly not the potential of the drivers, with the cars we put under them.

“The fact that we were able to win at Phoenix in such a dominating way gives me confidence that we can have renewed strength back to our program on the short tracks as well as the mile-and-a-half and bigger tracks.”

There could be changes to members of the pit crews.

“There comes a time for the athletes, the athletic ability of the pit crews, they get tired or they get injured. We look forward to making career opportunities for those guys as their time passes,” Roush said. “Right now, I don’t see a wholesale change of a pit crew. Certainly we’re not going to do what the Hendrick guys did [at Texas], taking one pit crew and put them on another team. We will be looking at everybody’s job and seeing what we can do to expand their careers.”

As for his organization’s Nationwide Series program, Roush said he hopes to field three teams in 2011 – for Edwards, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne.

“Right now, we’re still lacking sponsorship for two of our, hopefully, three programs next year,” he said. “I am committed to start the year with Ricky and Trevor, assuming that we are going to be able to find the support, generate the interest in their future to make it a financially solvent program for both of them going forward.

“And if it’s not, I’m prepared to make an investment myself. So we’ll see how far we get.” • Sam Hornish Jr. could end up in Nationwide Series for Penske Racing